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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that science fiction represents an alternative forum in which orthodox science can be held up to scrutiny. This argument is supported through an examination of three pseudoscientific theories that have been particularly significant in the development of the genre: hollow-earth theory, Martian canals, and extrasensory perception. By examining the history of these theories, the chapter shows how the struggle over scientific ideas is a struggle for cultural power. By examining literary representations of these theories, it also shows how SF plays a key role in this struggle, as it allows authors to entertain speculative theories and extrapolate the implications of extraordinary sciences that have been rejected by the scientific establishment. SF thus represents a privileged site where scientific theories are negotiated, contested, and resisted, and it provides a record of scientific boundary disputes that is invaluable for the creation of genealogies of subjugated knowledges.

Keywords: science fiction, science, pseudoscience, hollow Earth, Martian canals, extrasensory perception, boundary disputes, subjugated knowledges

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